In April 2014, Myanmar bowed to pressure from environmentalists and introduced a one-year ban on raw timber export for the 2016/17 financial year, saying it would also reduce logging after that, as the country a bid to curb deforestation (A report by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation found Myanmar lost 19 per cent, or 7,445,000 hectares of forest between 1990 and 2010).
While a good move for the environment, the ban put about 1,000 elephants out of work. And according to Four Paws, many of those elephants have been abandoned, killed, or smuggled to neighbouring countries where they are being exploited in the tourism industry.
Four Paws is constructing one of the largest elephant sanctuaries in Southeast Asia. The 17,000-hectare Elephants Lake in the Bago region in the southern central part of the country, will care for former logging elephants as well as injured or orphaned wild elephants that will be rehabilitated and returned to the wild.